“I continue to believe that this world has no ultimate meaning. But I know that something in it has a meaning and that is man, because he is the only creature to insist on having one” – Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion and Death: Essays
I am now 36. Late mid-thirties. I worked it out.
- 30 – 30nothing
- 31-33 – early 30s
- 34-36 – mid 30s
- 37-39 – late 30s
- 40 –
It really is a great time to be in your 30s. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been before (though my body doesn’t show it). I’ve got a good job, I have a great book collection, technology is awesome and I live in Austin, TX. Things are pretty good.
“We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it. Before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squalling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, there’s only one direction. And time is its only measure.” — Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
A long time ago (1992-94), I discovered Existentialism, specifically Absurdism. Albert Camus quite literally changed my life. I was born, I got baptized, I did my communion, and my confirmation. I was a devout Catholic.
I suffered from depression (occasionally still do) and began to question the existence of God and a soul. Nothing bad happened. I really loved church and the priests at Our Lady of Guadalupe were good at giving sermons.
My questions came not from inconsistencies in the bible or trying to reconcile church dogma with modern life. No, my questions came from, shall we say, first principles. The logic of god, punishment, heaven, and souls just didn’t make sense to me. If not for Camus, I’d have had a harder time dealing with my entire world view being turned upside down.
“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve immortality through not dying.” Woody Allen
After I stopped believing in God, I began to appreciate life a lot more. You see once I realized I didn’t go on forever after death, every day meant so much more. The problem is that each year that passes I get closer to death. That’s not pessimism, it’s simply a fact. I hope to make it to 120 or so. It’s really the only reason I work out. The best predictor of how old you’ll live is how old your parents were when they died, and how old their parents were when they died. You can change those dates a bit with smoking and dangerous behavior, but for the most part your death lies in your genes. My parents are still alive, but my grandparents made it to about an average of 83, so time will tell. But it worries me. I’m afraid of regrets. I want children. I’d like to have my daughter or son achieve a modicum of greatness, but first I have to have them. I’d like to create something that lives beyond me. Whether that’s a business or some art, I want something people will remember me by.
But mostly I don’t want to die.
Death followed by eternity. The worst of both worlds. Tom Stoppard, R&GAD (again)
I don’t want this too seem to morbid. All this talk of death on my birthday. It’s just that I really enjoy living. I want to live forever, because there is so much still to experience.
Imagine living during the time of Aeschylus or Euripides. You would have died before experiencing Shakespeare. Likewise, if you’d met Shakespeare you’d have died before finding out about Brecht, Stoppard, Mamet.
Imagine never experiencing Television, Movies. Knowing only crappy red/blue 3-D. Never seeing an smart phone or tablet. What is going to come next? I want to know!
I’ve got a book queue of more than 70 books, Netflix gueue of 200+ movies, Hulu queue of over 100 episodes, and they’re still making more television, movies, and books!
And that’s only entertainment, I still need to see Paris, Rome, London, Brazil, etc. And they will change throughout history as well. I want to see what happens, how they change. What about the countries that are just now becoming free. In fifty years those could be safe travel destinations, I want to visit them.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is: Live Life! When the end comes, it’s over. Experience everything you can while you have time. Expose yourself to new ideas and new experiences, because that’s what living is all about.
That’s what I intend to do for however many birthdays I have left.